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Manipulator and Victim - the Game of Imperfection

Taking advantage of the naivete of young women and girls and the abuse of power at the workplace involves two persons: a manipulator and a victim. For the victim the collision with the manipulator is a personal tragedy. For the manipulator it is a game, - a game of imperfection. This article is an attempt to help the potential victim to recognize the manipulator and take precautions against him. The article analyzes two cases: first, when the victim is a girl or a young woman in danger of being trafficked abroad and, second, when the victim is a worker in a company.

Part I. A Way That Leads to Traffic in Women

What was your first impression after you have read the word “manipulator” in the title of this article? Perhaps you imagined an ugly person, a monster or at least a bad person. If you think that the manipulator will look like this when you meet him, you are wrong. Why? It is because the Manipulator is a master worker of the Game of Imperfection. A manipulator could appear and play the role of a charming, attractive, very generous person almost in love with you. A manipulator could convey you the thought that he is dealing with very serious issues both in business and in life. The matter is that a manipulator is able also to promise you something that nobody in your life has ever promised and make you believe him. He portrays himself as a personal friend of High Officials, of important people from government and parliament, etc. He describes himself as an outstanding family person, when in fact he is having an ugly relationship in the family. He can make references to poets and poems and leave the impression that his life was shaped by great personalities and principles. For example, a manipulator may tell you that his greatest principle is: “everything or nothing”, conveying you the thought that he is very brave and can achieve everything in his life.

A manipulator could be very gracious with girls and young women. He will bring flowers, he will make little gifts, he will show signs of attention, he will kiss you on the cheek, he will come to you to greet and he will say the sweet words of praise to you. He will take you to restaurants, expensive entertainment centers. Are you already fond of such a guy? If not, you are on the right track. But you see, not everyone is so smart as you are. What if instead of you he meets your daughter? She will probably tell you next day that she finally met the person she dreamt of all her life – a person so brave, so charming. But in a month or so she will be devastated by her discovery. A manipulator will ask her to do him favors, and if she refuses, then he will remind her about all those beautiful places and will remind her of the impressive amount of money he spent on her. She could end up being betrayed and thrown in the street, she could end up somewhere on Cyprus, dancing in a night-club, etc.

You may say: “This will never happen to me”. Maybe you are right. But let me tell you a hypothetical story about a manipulator who acted in a very subtle way. And I must mention that any coincidences with all examples in this article are purely accidental. So, our hypothetical manipulator used even his lover, – a married woman, – to manipulate other people. How? He showed openly in the public that he venerates her, that she is the best woman he ever met and so on. He was making her gifts in front of others, leading a self-promotion campaign.

But few knew the other side of the story. For example, he often demanded her to come to business events at nights, he was chastising her for the smallest things: she could not imagine what she was doing wrong. In a word she was very afraid of him. She tried hard to please him. By contrast he ignored her state of health and her feelings. He put her in danger of being caught by her husband, - he didn't care at all. “Figure out something, lie to him, tell whatever you want, but I want you here and now,” he would often say. When finally she appeared for the event, he used to raise his glass of wine and begin telling the story of how precious that woman was … In a word he was using her for his image demanding from her to meet, see and smile to people she didn't like at all. So was the victim in this case a lover of the manipulator? Why should you doubt then that a victim could be the wife of a manipulator? Or anyone that you could imagine.

Why should you care about this? For a good reason. You see, a manipulator never tells you what will follow next, after the sweet period of getting to know each other. Because after this period, he expects you to be his victim. If you want to leave, he threatens you to do you harm. Not only to you, but also to your spouse and children.

What are some of the preventive steps you should undertake to protect yourself? You should never, never get into quick relationships. Take time to get to know a person before you will get involved in common affairs, projects, etc. You should always expect from new people you meet sincerity, humbleness, kindness, modesty. In such a way you will filter out people who don't correspond to these criteria.

Tanas - the father of my friend Vladimir - gave one of the most precious advice to his son: “The moment you discover that someone is “nuts” run away from him as fast as you can”. This is also my advice to you and to everyone. There is no better way to deal with this problem. That's why both Vladimir and I consider Tanas a Macedonian philosopher…Yes, use the instinctive wisdom of the mouse and run away from the cat-manipulator.

Part II. About a Sad Situation at Workplace

Have you ever got into a situation when whatever you do and regardless of how well you do it, your supervisor is still unhappy ? More than that you feel as if you are his victim . You may wonder for the reason of it, be frustrated over that, lose peace of mind and spend sleepless nights looking for solutions. But whatever attempts you make to change the situation, you see to you dismay that your supervisor seems to always find reasons to be unhappy with you. You also observe helplessly that he wins all your dialogues, leaving you in an emotional turmoil. And you always find yourself in the position to concede to his “rightful” position. You try this and that to please him, but nothing, nothing works. These are some of the signs that your supervisor is playing “the game of imperfection” on you. Yes, unfortunately, in some companies there is an evidence of the unfolding drama of the game of imperfection. Let analyze this game step by step.

Getting the knowledge of “the game of imperfection” is crucial. Why? In order to protect yourself. But how are you going to get out of something that you don't know? So the knowledge is important. If you are not careful enough, the game of imperfection played on you may destroy you psychologically, emotionally and physically.

The origin of the game is linked to human imperfection . Nobody could do everything right, do exactly what is expected of him. This situation creates plenty of room for manipulation and exploiting a person's imperfections. There are two players involved in the game: the victimizer/manipulator and the victim.

What makes a victimizer a victimizer? First of all the victimizer's goal is supremacy and control over people. One of the ways of a manipulator to control you is to put pressure on you, using any pretext. The control itself makes him feel satisfied. The victimizer is wise, but at the same time he is very rude and proud. He uses a huge arsenal of tricks and “weapons” like bad words, threats, scheming, manipulations, and half-truth. He modulates the tone of his voice, making it sound threatening, etc. By his phrases he makes you feel guilty. He also tries to seem a person of iron will and puts on a superhuman air of superiority, though he might only play a role. In reality he could be very fearful and cowardly. Some victimizers make appeal to your honesty and morality, but just with the purpose in mind to make you feel very uncomfortable.

Secondly, the victimizer is playing on human emotions: he exploits a person's fear to the maximum. He does this deliberately and feels no regret. Usually victimizers are people with no integrity, people who are morally and spiritually corrupt. They play on inconsistencies, on people's weaknesses, they catch people on what they say, and they use even people's sincerity to turn it against them. Fishing human imperfections and throwing them on people brings them the feeling of intellectual superiority. They take delight in bringing their victims to the state of desperation. And obviously, victimizers lack warmth and compassion for other people; they don't know the real joy of having real friends. If the victimizer sees a “weakness” he says in his heart: “Aha, this is the one to manipulate and to play games on him!» They treat humbleness and honesty as a lack of character. And they are glad to attack you. They are in the state of a lion anticipating his pray. They may also portray themselves as absolutely loving people, generous and kind and so on. At the same time they will try to imply that you are bad and worthless. They even will go so far as to convince you of this or at least others. The victimizer knows that there is a timid side in each person. And they want to reach that side within us at all cost. A person with strong self-control will not allow this. But how many of us are so brave and in an excellent self-control?

What makes a victim a victim? A victim will never make use of the victimizer's weapons. And so it seems that he is defenseless. A victim, being usually a humble person, is always ready to recognize his imperfections and limitations. But once he recognizes them, he becomes a target for even more rough attacks. He faces the situation to withstand the intricate schemes and attacks of the victimizer. The victim never chooses to be a victim. The victimizer chooses him. More than that the victim never volunteers to play the game. But he plays it unwillingly! How? Well, by reacting, by worrying, by spending sleepless nights with the only persistent thought: What can I do? He is just forced to play it. Nobody even bothers to ask him if he likes the game. Sometimes the victim is playing the game without being aware of it!

Let us see how “the game is played” on a victim. Paul wrote a letter on a certain issue on the demand of his boss. He wrote the letter as he understood the issue and at the level of his training, politeness, intellect and inner feeling of what is right and what is wrong to put in a letter. But the boss wanted a different tone of the letter – a harsh one. So he blamed the person of inability, of total lack of skills to write a simple letter. Through harsh avalanche of words he implies that you are stupid and almost an idiot. He doesn't care that you are recognized excellent writer. All he cares about is to get it his way and to humiliate you. That's how the game started and developed. In no time Paul got caught into the game without even knowing that he is a player of the game. Does it sound familiar to you?

A few years ago I met Peter Walker (the name is changed), who worked for a very good and respectable company. Peter knew little about “the Game of Imperfection”. So he was unaware that this game was played on him. Peter was very vulnerable to attacks. The person inflicted him a lot of devastating emotional wounds. Peter had sleepless nights, he was thinking over and over again of what he needs to do and he couldn't find the solution. He was so lost that at one point he began doubting his abilities as a worker and even his worth as a person. His relationship with his wife deteriorated. His wife couldn't understand “why he is so weak”. As a result they got divorced. He began to drink a lot, thinking about suicide. Even many years later these scars did not heal. Finally Peter left the company. Leaving such a good company was not easy for him. But this was the best solution under the given circumstances. That's how damaging may be for you the Game of Imperfection when it is played on you.

There are a few very important tips for you to know about the victimizer. You need to know that the victimizer manipulates for the sake of winning and having the taste of winning over you. In the majority of cases this has little to do with your job performance. Simply you turned to be an easy and defenseless target in his eyes, just because of your mild personality, different background, education, etc.

The fact that the attacker is less wise than you doesn't mean he cannot win, inflicting you deep emotional wounds and scars. The issue is not allowing the attacker to destroy you morally and psychologically. The last resort you always have is not to be in the game at all. But this means you need to quit the job. And you are not sure that in another workplace you will not face even a more furious player of “the game of imperfection”.

You need to understand that when the game of imperfection is played on you, it is not about your abilities, your work or worth as a person etc. You also need to understand that a person, who is exploiting your imperfections as a human being to the maximum, makes a lot of mistakes himself. The fact that he behaves as if he is perfect and always right shouldn't mislead you. Understand that his pretense to be always right is just pretense – and nothing else. This knowledge by itself may calm you down and help you to act prudently.

How should you defend yourself from the attacks of the victimizer? The first thing is to assess the other person's situation in the company and your situation in relation to him. You may be surprised to find out that, in some cases, the position of the attacker in the company is not so strong as you thought.

Secondly, you let the person know that you are aware of what is going on, and about the “game” he is playing on you. Tell him that you don't like this, looking straight in his eye. Tell him that you are going to bring the issue to the CEO of the Company.

Third, keep your demeanor, be calm and polite. Have a character. Know that the attacker is weaker than you think. In fact he is in a pitiful situation, lacking the spiritual, moral and emotional health. You need to make an effort to be more firm in what you do. Make a point across and let him feel that you are aware of your worth in the company.

Fourth, to be in control of the situation, you need to analyze the specific reasons why he attacked you. It may be that he envies you. It may be the jealousy and fear that you may replace him one day. He may have a hidden inferiority complex.

Fifth, the last resort you have is to quit the job. If you are totally dependent on your supervisor you must quit. And quit early. The instinctive wisdom of the mouse makes it run away from the cat. If you feel that you are the mouse get out of the game. You need to avoid the situation of Peter Walker. The knowledge of the game will help you to quit the job with a smile. You know anyway that you are going to lose much more if you stay. Go to your friends, pour out the soul to them, explain the situation. Your friends will understand and help you.

It could be reverse. It could be that, in some cases, the subordinates might initiate “the Game of Imperfection” playing it against their supervisors. But they play it not directly but through more powerful figures than their direct supervisor. Usually people who don't have scruples are initiators of the game. A very intelligent supervisor might be under attack initiated by people without scruples. The first protection, as was mentioned above, is the knowledge of the game of imperfection and the steps of defense.


Now, having the knowledge of the “Game of Imperfection”, you will be psychologically prepared to withstand the attacks of a possible victimizer. You will be able to take the right decisions avoiding emotional stress. You may also help a lot of friends, who may be facing the similar situation at their workplace. Now you also got the understanding of how psychology can come to your help and prevent emotional wounds and scars, thus avoiding damaging consequences in your life. You want to be happy at your job. That's natural. You may remain happy either at your current job, or at any other job, if you act with knowledge and insight in dealing with the “players” of the “Game of Imperfection”. And never forget the advice of Macedonian philosopher, Tanas, who believed that: “The moment you discover that someone is “nuts” run away from him as fast as you can”.

By Daniel Sivera

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